There is only thing standing in the way of resolving the issues of Florida and Michigan: Barack Obama. Obama and his supporters in and out of the press seem to be ready, willing and able to do what they accuse Clinton of doing - win at any cost by denying both Florida and Michgian their right to be heard.
Part of the reason is, they refuse to acknowledge that what they thought was in the bag never really was, and deluded themselves into believing the media hype surrounding Obama's campaign. Especially the mainstream media who are responsible for creating the hype in the first place -- the hype of inevitability. And instead of acknowledging it, they do what psychiatrists call projection, projecting onto Clinton and her campaign what is actually true for them but to which they are in denial as the recent imbecilic editorial from the New York Times demonstrated.
Does anyone have any doubt that if Florida and Michigan didnt matter everyone would be calling for them to be seated?
This is the only real issue facing Democrats and super delegates now and now is the time to resolve it. One way or the other, Florida and Michigan will define the Democratic Party for years to come and will define Obama and his supporters right now and prove one way or the other who and what he truly is.
Florida and Michigan have to be seated one way or the other because the Democrats will destroy themselves as a party and guarantee losing both the White House and the congress if they arent. Of that there is no doubt. Given what happened in 2000, it would be unconscionable if the Democrats sent out a candidate who is there only because votes werent counted in Florida. The fact that Obama and his supporters are willing for that to happen is as good a testimony as any to the hypocrisy of the Obama campaign and his most vocal supporters.Not to mention the fact that if that did happen the Democrats could kiss Florida and Michgian goodbye. And with them probably most of the remaining states that usually go Democratic.
The arguments for Florida and Michigan being seated are so obvious stating them is hardly neccessary. Except that Obama and his surrogates in the press are trying to wage an almost fascistic campaign against it. Suffice to say you dont negate the voices of 3 million people in a process to nominate a candidate for President of the United States over a scheduling conflict.
Both primaries were conducted fairly (yes Michigan too which I will get to later) and the results are completely valid. And as of this very moment, there is not a single reason not to count them in the popular vote since that has nothing to do with the delegate issue in the first place, and contrary to Obama and his supporters, Florida and Michigan do exist, airlines are still flying there and those people did vote.
There have been attempts to work out compromises, the sleaziest of which was floated by Obama in which he had the nerve to suggest he and Clinton split the delegates 50-50. That would be nothing short of a political mugging with Obama trying to steal delegates from Clinton that he didnt win, doesnt deserve, and go against the wishes and voices of the people who cast their votes for Clinton not for him. None of which seems to faze Obama in the slightest which is one more defining fact about his character and those who support him. If the situations were reveresed and Clinton had suggested anything remotely similar, imagine the outcry of the press and Obama's supporters and the current collection of editorial imbeciles at the New York Times. They would be accusing Clinton of trying to steal the election. Which is exactly what Obama is hoping to do. It is also why when such hypocrisy is running rampant in the press and we have a candidate in Obama and his supporters who are the most intellectually dishonest collection of moral and political hypocrites and willing to play the dirtiest politics since Richard Nixon it is up to people to stand up themselves and demand Florida and Michigan be seated.And if takes 15 milion Clinton voters, and Obama voters with a conscience to send a message to super delegates and the Democratic Rules Committee then so be it.
There is not a single reason why those delegates should not be seated in exactly the same numbers as the primary results.
We have heard Obama and many of his supporters justify their untenable position that the voices of Florida and Michigan be silenced and not represented because "rules are rules" and that the state party broke "the rules" ( of course they have nothing to say about the fact that the 3 million people who voted, who are the only ones that count, had nothing to say about this), so let's talk about "the rules".
In the first place there is no "rule" that says any state party who changes their primary date gets their delegates disenfranchised. Howard Dean used that as a threat to try and head off Florida and Michigan from moving their dates up, the state parties saying "you cant tell us what to do" and Howard Dean saying, "oh yeah"?
There were many things Dean could have done beside threatening to disenfranchise their delegates and Im sure now he wished he had. He could have levied a heavy fine against the state party leaders or the party itself. He could have banned the party leaders from the convention. And what actually occurred, that is forbidding the candidates from campaigning in the state (though some Obama commercials did somehow make it into portions of the state) was a heavy sanction in and of itself, in that it imposed a heavy economic loss to the people of both states. No campaigning meant no media hordes, no campaign people, no hotel rooms being booked or restaurants filled, or gas pumped, or advertising bought. It probably cost the people of both states, waitresses, hotels,cab drivers,restaurant owners, TV stations,$15-20 million at least. That is enough punishment and doesn't involve punishing 3 million people by trying to suppress their votes.
But Obama's argument is the state party heads broke the Democratic Rules Committe rules. It doesn't matter that the rules had nothing to do with the fairness of the vote. It doesn't matter that breaking those scheduling rules had nothing to do with the outcome of the election or it's validity. But Obama hopes to keep them silenced because he was landslided in both elections and so he says "rules are rules" and they (the heads of the state parties) broke the rules.
But the rules that were broken were scheduling rules, not rules that undermined the democratic process. So now its time to talk about "breaking the rules" when it comes to democracy and what is important, "the rules" or democracy?
The reason this country even exists is because a group of men reasoned that when the "rules" are unjust, when the rule are unfair, when the rules deny people their basic rights and priviliges, you ignore the rules, break them if need be and make new rules. The Declaration of Independence is about one thing -- breaking the rules and breaking them when rules are unjustly applied. And the next time Obama and his campaign wants to use "the rules are the rules" to justify why Florida and Michigan should not be seated, let him and his supporters remember that at one time in America "the rules" were African Americans had to sit in the back of the bus. "The rules" said that African Americans couldn't drink out of the same water fountains, couldn't live in the same neighborhoods, have the same jobs, make the same money, eat at the same restaurants and their children couldn't go to the same schools as whites. But in 1954 Martin Luther King came along and said the rules have to be ignored and there has to be new rules, because these rules are denying people their rights and ignoring the rules is exactly what Rosa Parks did.
When it comes to Florida and Michigan, if Barack Obama and his supporters want to apply a rationale that is closer to the beliefs of a Mississippi sheriff in 1950 than anything resembling a "breaking with the old politics of the past" then let them take responsibility for it.If Obama and his supporters were what they claim to be they would be the first ones to stand up and demand that both delegations be seated and resolve this now.
Is "voices must be heard" a principle Obama believes in or is it a cheap campaign slogan? So far the answer is obvious. The real test of character is when your principles are put to the test and sticking to them is not to your personal benefit. But that's what a principle is. Its something bigger than you. And when it comes to principle is this the candidate the Democratic party wants to put up against John McCain, a man who stuck by his principles in the face of torture as a POW in a North Vietnamese prison camp?
As of right now there is no other conclusion to be drawn other than Barack Obama is willing and able to throw the very thing he claims to represent , that voices must be heard, right out the window because they have become politically inconvenient. And after hearing Bill Richardson and Bonier, two Obama supporters on PBS the other night trying to defend the denying of those 3 million people their votes on this specious technicality, it should give people just cause to question what in the world an Obama Justice Department would be like.
The unfortunate thing is that, like most people who think principles get in the way, Obama doesn't understand that by doing the right thing, you always benefit more in the long run than doing the wrong thing. What would be the reaction if Obama stood up now and called for those delegations to be seated? If he in fact was the one to resolve the issue since he is the one who would be disadvantaged (actually, he would be losing an unfair advantage), and to be what he claims to be, a uniter not a divider? He has had the power to do it. And if he did how many voters would see him in a new light, as being genuine and exactly what he claims to be? How many more votes would he actually get for such a gesture instead of fighting as hard as he can to keep those other votes from counting? He might make up for the votes he didn't get in Florida and Michigan.
But a decision like this takes exceptional judgment, magnanimity, seeing things on a higher level, a plane where principle comes first and personal advantage comes second. This is not what we have seen from Obama in his campaign. After he's suffered landslide losses in the country's biggest states (13 times out 14) he has tried to claim that losing didn't matter because he could win those states in a general election. What he chooses to completley dismiss is that it matters to the people in those states because they clearly said they dont want him to the be one to take those states in a general election they want Clinton to take them and thats why they voted the way they did. Those are the voices Obama doesnt want to hear and those are the voices he wants to silence in Florida and Michgian.
In order for Obama to resolve this conflict which he could easily do, he would have to be all the things he actually claims to be, putting principle above his own political fortunes and the fact that he doesn't and wont, says more about who he really is and the hypocrisy of his campaign than anything anyone can say.
Its simply a fact that when you do the right thing for the right reasons good things come to you and if Obama resolved this conflict himself by doing what was right, the benefits he would get would far outweigh the short term losses he is so worried about. But I dont think he will. I dont think it's who he is. Or what he is. And that says all that needs to be said about Obama and what matters to him.
Two more points about Florida and Michigan. With regards to Florida,while the Democratic Party in Florida did go along, the decision to move their primary up was a decision made by the Republican governor and the Republican legislature. It wasnt just the Democratic primary that was moved up, it was Primary Day for both parties that were moved up. The Democrats, as Pat Schroder pointed out on PBS, had nothing to say about it and couldn't have stopped it if they wanted to. Not that I believe it should matter. What matters are the votes of 3 million people who had nothing to do with a scheduling conflict and to deny them their votes and voices based on that is nothing short of criminal.
With regards to Michigan: many people erroneously believe that Obama was not on the ballot. What they either dont know or are forgetting, or dont want to talk about, is that Obama made an agreement with the Democratic party in Michigan that his name would be represented by a line that said "uncommitted". John Edwards also agreed to that. Every single Democratic voter in Michgian knew well before election day that Obama and Edwards were represented by "uncommitted" and that if you wanted to vote for either Obama and Edwards that was the button to push. The proof that everyone knew it is that "uncommited" drew 39% of the vote, the second highest total. It should also be noted that every other candidate still in the running at the time, Biden, Dodd, Richardson, et al, had their names on the ballot.Obama taking his name off the ballot was a grandstand play and when he found out no one else did and couldnt get his name back on he made the "uncommitted" agreement along with Edwards. The only issue with regards to Michigan is how to divide the popular vote and delegates for the "uncommitted" line and that is easily accomplished.
In virtually every primary in which he participated, John Edwards received between 13% and 15% of the vote which would give Obama about 25% of the "uncommitted" vote in Michigan. The way to do it is this: to err on the side of caution let both sides agree that Obama will receive 30% of the Michigan vote. That is extremely generous since it is inconceivable that a populist like Edwards would have gotten only 9% of the vote in Michigan but lets bend over backwards to satisfy Obama and his supporters. Give him 30% of the popular vote and a proportionate number of delegates. Nothing could be more fair.
Except that once you do that, Hillary Clinton has the popular vote lead and trails Obama by only 57 delegates. Which is the real reason Obama doesn't want them seated, not any affinity he has for any rules.
There is only one thing standing in the way of resolving the issues of counting the valid votes of 3 million people in Florida and Michigan. Only one roadblock. Barack Obama. So lets not pretend it is anything else. Let's not pretend its about rules or fairness or the democratic process which demands that both delegations be seated.
As the party who wouldnt gain if the delegates are seated, Obama can resolve this by calling for the entire delegation to be seated right now. If he doesn't resolve this now by calling for the delegations to be seated exactly as per the results of two perfectly valid elections then we have proof that his ambitions are more important than his principles and "voices must be heard" and "rejecting the old politics" is nothing more than slogans.
Obama and his supporters have to understand there is only one way to resolve this nomination process. That he wins fairly and with all voices heard or he doesn't win. If the majority of those voices say "Clinton" then so be it. And if Obama and his supporters have a problem with that, then its time for them to ask what are you and your candidate really for?
Since this post first appeared a new web site has been created designed to make the case to super delegates that they need to count Florida and Michigan and both add the popular vote and the approximately 70 delegates that Clinton would net if their votes are counted.
Here is the link to COUNTTHEVOTES.
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